Archives For Martin Luther King

Dr. King’s mountaintop

Lisa Misner —  January 21, 2019

By J.D. Greear

mlk day 2019

Our Declaration of Independence put forth a lofty ideal about the equality of races, one of the most eloquent and profound any government had ever made: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Yet many of the framers would return home to their slaves.

Our country has always had high aspirations of equality, but we’ve never been able to achieve them. Not during the century of our birth, when imported African slaves were bought and sold as subhuman property. Not after the Civil War, when Jim Crow laws kept newly liberated African Americans from the full rights of citizenship. Not today, when there are still disparities between the black experience of America and the white experience.

Sometimes I get discouraged with our lack of progress. But when I listen to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I don’t hear the voice of defeat or discouragement. I hear the voice of someone who has seen something — something that, in God’s power, is possible; something God wants to give.

The mountaintop is where we see the world as God meant it to be, the world that Jesus died to recreate.

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” Dr. King said. “But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land.”

The mountaintop is where we see the world as God meant it to be, the world that Jesus died to recreate. Multi-racial harmony is a preview of God’s eternal Kingdom, and God wants to display it first through His church. What our society has been unable to produce through its laws, God creates through the Gospel.

The Gospel teaches us that all men are created equal because they are each alike, made in the image of God. All races suffer from a common problem of sin and look toward a common hope in Jesus. The Gospel creates a new humanity, a redeemed race made up of all colors, in Christ’s image. God created the races to display His glory like a multi-splendored diamond, and we ought to see that glory first reflected in the church.

Dr. King looked ahead and boldly declared that God’s desire for racial harmony was possible. As we look to our future, would you join me in asking God to give us the courage to speak — and live — a similar word of counter-cultural, racially diverse, bold and unified faith?

I believe that God has appointed this moment in the world for the church to rise up and demonstrate the unity that the world searches for in vain. From that mountaintop we continue to dream; toward that promised land we continue to strive.

J.D. Greear is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C. This article first appeared at

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

doneenoughA report on a new LifeWay Research survey says what Martin Luther King, Jr., once said about Sunday morning in America is still true: “At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation.”

Released just before the national holiday in honor of King, the survey found more than 80% of churches are made up of one predominant racial group, but 67% of churchgoers say their church is doing enough to become ethnically diverse. And 53% disagree that their congregation needs to become more diverse.

“Surprisingly, most churchgoers are content with the ethnic status quo in their churches,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, in the research report by Bob Smietana. “In a world where our culture is increasingly diverse, and many pastors are talking about diversity, it appears most people are happy where they are—and with whom they are.

“Yet, it’s hard for Christians to say they are united in Christ when they are congregating separately.”

In honor of MLK Day, gathered 25 of his “retweetable” quotes, starting with this one: “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or darkness of destructive selfishness.”

In the newest “Question and Ethics” podcast, Ethics and Religious Liberty President Russell Moore interviews actor David Oyelowo, who portrays Martin Luther King in a recently released movie. “…I think what you see in ‘Selma’ the film is not only was Dr. King a speaker of the word–we celebrate him as an orator–but he was a doer of it, and that’s the attribute I most admire in any Christian,” the actor says.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Jan. 16 it will soon hear arguments in an appeals court case concerning same-sex marriage. “Depending on the justices’ decision,” Baptist Press reports, “gay marriage could be legal throughout the country by the end of June or states could maintain their authority to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.”

Oral arguments about the appeals court decision, which concerns Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, are expected in March or April, BP reports, with a decision before the Court’s summer adjournment.

“I did not die. I did not go to heaven.” Christianity Today reports on that retraction by 16-year-old Alex Malarkey concerning his book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.”

Malarkey made his admission in a statement titled “An Open Letter to LifeWay and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven.” LifeWay Christian Resources–an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention–told The Christian Post they “are returning to the publisher the few copies we have in our stores.”

The Post also notes that during their annual meeting last June, Southern Baptists adopted a resolution reaffirming “the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one’s understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.”

Colton Burpo, whose account of heaven also became a bestselling book and later a feature film, said he stands by his story. The Christian Post reports Burpo took to his website to say, “”I know there has been a lot of talk about the truth of other Heaven stories in the past few days.

“I just wanted to take a second and let everyone know that I stand by my story found in my book Heaven is for Real.”

The Seattle Seahawks’ unbelievable comeback in the NFC championship game Jan. 18 brought quarterback Russell Wilson to tears in his post-game interview. Before and after the victory, Russell, who is vocal about his Christian faith, tweeted his thankfulness and praise to God. “My pursuit of exellence is to honor Jesus!” Wilson tweeted Saturday, with the hashtag #ItsAllAboutHim.

After the game, he posted a praise chorus by Lenny LeBlanc: “There is none like You! No one else can touch my heart like You do! I can search for all of eternity, but there is none like You!”